Thursday, 16 December 2010

Mental Bubbles

I experience mental bubbles. Spheres of memory that rise through the dark liquid of my Psyche. Sometimes they seem to come from nowhere, sometimes I know what prompts them.

In spite of the lights, cards and decorations, I have not been feeling very Christmassy, until today when I smelt the mince pies cooking in the oven., I mean Christmas. Very good they were too. I still haven't found any shop's mincemeat here that involves only ingredients that can be safely taken into the human body, so the filling is home made. I can also never remember from one year to the next, what circular object I use to cut the pastry. The tops are easier.

Today is also my friend Karen's birthday, we must have been wishing each other Happy Birthday for not far off fifty years now. We went to each others' birthday parties as small children, wore paper hats, sparkly frocks and party shoes. Played pass the parcel and danced the twist.
But that's not what has actually caused the memory bubble.
When we were younger, both of us had the experience of dads going to sea, coming back from sea. And for Karen, this featured in her own earlier married life.
Now her husband has returned to the sea, and this past week, returned from it. Thinking of my friend looking forward to her husband's return has made me think of how we looked forward to my dad coming back.

I think my father's absence at sea gave him a sort of theoretical status when my sister and I were very young. We had a dad. We loved him. He sent us postcards from Hong Kong, Singapore, the countries, the ships were names we knew, but not places or vessels that we knew, just names.
He came home from time to time and brought us presents.
But our real lives were run by women. Our mum, our aunt, our nans. They did the day-to-day business of keeping us fed and cleaned and sent to school. My mother managed the money, planned the parties, made our dresses. Hers was the face we saw every day.

And although, like me, she was not adept in the kitchen, for Christmas, she pickled onions and at Christmas, she made the mince pies.

Bubbles of memory.
Happy Birthday Karen. I know you're in London so won't see this for a couple of days, but I hope you had a splendid time.


Dawn said...

Nice, Janis. Memories. Very nice.

Karemay said...

Thank you Janis, I had a lovely birthday. Your post transported me back to your parties. Your Nan made Denise & I our first party dresses, they were pink with little rose buds and a seperate under dress. I can close my eyes and imagine the feel of the material even now. You may think your Mum wasn't adept in the kitchen, but she always allowed me to bake in her kitchen on my visits to pirbright. Happy Days:)

Schneewittchen said...

We had dresses like those too Karen, but I think mine was yellow.

I think the kitchen was a great source of frustration for my mum. Now that I'm older, I can see a great many factors that played into that.

Dawn - it's odd to think there were memories from before I knew you, and strange to look back and realise how quickly that short bit of time passes. When Karen and I were little, it must have seemed like an eternity that we lived just around the corner from each other, but the truth is, that time was really only a handful of years.